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Lawns and Gardens Last Updated: Jul 2nd, 2008 - 21:15:22

Professional Advice for a Top-Notch Lawn
May 31, 2008, 20:36

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(ARA) - Top-notch gardening tools, expert landscaping advice and high-speed Internet -- whether gardening is your life’s passion or just a now-and-then hobby, today’s homeowners have everything they need to maintain a beautiful lawn and garden right at their fingertips.

While gardening has always been a favorite American pastime, the accessibility of helpful tips, products and the expertise of everyday outdoor enthusiasts reaches far beyond the basics of lawn care available a century ago.

It was then that The O.M. Scotts Company -- known today as The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company -- launched its small mail-order seed business. Now synonymous with lawns and gardens, Scotts planted its roots into American culture and helped transform the lawn into an American icon and source of pride.

Often overlooked is just how much the lawn has evolved during the last century: it’s more drought-tolerant, disease-resistant and heartier than when the concept of residential turf first gained momentum.

Over the past 100 years, the company grew right along with -- and often ahead of -- homeowners’ desire to transform lawns and gardens into awe-inspiring works of art. Today, ScottsMiracle-Gro wants to help you commemorate this milestone in the company’s history by getting back to the basics of the iconic American lawn.

“The lawn is a masterpiece in its simplicity and is the part of the lawn and garden equation that deserves more credit,” says Bruce Augustin, director of agronomy at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “A healthy lawn enhances not only the aesthetics, but also increases the environmental benefits of a garden and landscape; without it, the whole picture loses its allure.”

With the wealth of information, products and tools available today, even the most inexperienced homeowner can grow a beautiful, healthy lawn. Augustin and ScottsMiracle-Gro offer some helpful tips to repair trouble spots and get your lawn growing healthy this spring:

* Choose the right seed:

Spring is a great time to walk the lawn and scout for areas that may need repair. Today’s premium seed blends contain the newest grass varieties and require less lawn care and have fewer pest problems. Local hardware stores, nurseries and garden centers can help you select the right variety for your lawn.

* Time it right:

Spring is actually a great time of year to seed (fall is as well), and you can achieve great results by planting as soon as possible. Ideally, you want to keep seedlings from being nipped by a hard frost, while also giving the grass time to mature before basking in the hot summer sun.

* Prepare the soil:

Remove excess dead grass and work the soil to a depth of approximately 1 inch to promote good soil and seed contact and to create a good environment for root growth. For improved germination, add a quality soil like Scotts Turf Builder Seeding Soil.

* Sow the seed evenly:

Seed the area by using a lawn spreader, either drop-type or rotary; Scotts Deluxe EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader helps ensure products are applied only where intended.

* Be sure to fertilize:

Apply a starting fertilizer the same day you seed to get seeding off to a strong start.

* Keep the seedbed moist:

To germinate, water lightly and frequently, rather than deeply; only the top 1/2 inch of soil needs to be kept moist; spread straw or mulch to help contain moisture until seedlings are well established (typically 6 to 8 weeks).

* Early follow up:

Begin mowing as soon as the seedlings are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall; do not use a weed killer until the young grass plants have been mowed at least four times.

* Summer follow up:

Watch for stress from summer heat and drought; water as needed to keep plants vigorous.

For a wide range of lawn and garden tips, tools and ideas, visit www.scotts.com.

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